A Chance to Lead

Steffon holding a basket ball

Steffon became a leader in his own community, thanks to basketball – and second chances.

By the time Steffon was only 16 years old, he had already been arrested several times.
He constantly got into fights and found it nearly impossible to control his temper.

As a child growing up in Guyana, Steffon was diagnosed with epilepsy. But it wasn’t until he
arrived in Canada many years later that he received consistent treatment for his illness.

That, along with a step-family where he never really fit in, made it hard for Steffon to find a place to belong.

But he had a lifeline – the Courtland Shelley Community Centre.

“It was a safe place to go, to meet up with each other,” said Steffon. “What I enjoyed most about
being there was the togetherness.”

And the chance to play basketball – the one time when Steffon felt at peace. “I would get on the basketball court, and it didn’t matter what I was dealing with at home.”

But Steffon’s anger finally caught up to him, with a judge ordering him to see a counsellor.

“I didn’t want to talk to someone I didn’t know,” said Steffon. “But, after the counsellor shared with
me, I started to trust him. And as I talked, the weight just lifted.”

All of the emotions Steffon had been suppressing since childhood came rushing out – starting him on his journey to healing.

While still working through these complex emotions, Steffon was given a chance to lead by taking on the basketball program, which was in danger of shutting down.

“I thought, ‘I can run it,’ – and they actually gave me the chance,” said Steffon.

This chance to lead – despite his past mistakes – has helped shape who Steffon is today.

“It’s such a different feeling when you know someone believes in you.”

While volunteering at the basketball program, Steffon has also helped coach at Rockway Mennonite Collegiate. He continues to work on plans for his future, including some way of giving back.

“I just want to be in the right place to help someone, like someone helped me.”

Your support of our Neighbourhoods programs provides a safe place for resilient young men like Steffon to grow into the leaders their community needs. Thank you!

Posted on: July 7th, 2023

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